The College of Communication and The Art’s Theatre program is bringing William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” to the Theater-in-the-Round this fall.This is the first of four theater productions for the 2017-18 season. The cast shared how they have been able to come together in the rehearsal process and have high hopes for the show.
Jessica Creane, the play’s director and guest artist, leads the cast and crew of newcomers and seasoned veterans. With prior experience directing at the university level, Creane is working with her cast to help make the play more approachable and modern to students on campus.
By sharing this vision with her cast, she hopes to help them discover the world within the play and translate that knowledge into their performances.
Creane said that Seton Hall students will enjoy “As You Like It” because it portrays themes that are present in the lives of every day students.
“The play is really relatable because we spend much of our lives as humans just trying to relate to one another and find the right words [for how] we think and feel,” Creane said. “Once you break the code, it’s just a love story and they’re all having identity crises, which is also super relatable.”
The play is a romantic drama mixed with poetry and comedy. It follows various characters exiled to the Forest of Arden, where they find new beginnings, search for true love and learn the simple values of rustic life.
Students in the play come from various colleges across the University, with different levels of acting experience. With a cast of more than 15 members, they have been working during rehearsals to form a chemistry before the play’s opening night on Oct.19
“The Theatre program isn’t huge so we all know each other,” said Taji Steele, a sophomore theatre major. “But even with some of the newer actors that have come into the space, I think we are getting to know them very well.”
Steele, who plays the character Touchstone, is embracing the bond she has with her fellow actors as they work to put together “As You Like It” in the span of six weeks.
A senior theatre major, Yvonne Pruitt, plays Rosalind, one of the leading roles. With confidence in the cast’s dedication, she said she expects the show will start the season off on a high note. Both Pruitt and Steele said they hope students can see Shakespeare as something more than a required reading in high school.
“Where else are you going to get a free show, support your peers, culture yourself and get to watch some live Shakespeare?” said Pruitt. “Being able to watch Shakespeare is a whole different experience. Some might even end up enjoying it more.”
The production of “As You Like It” will run through Oct. 22. Performances are scheduled Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with the Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.
Nicholas Mariano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.